8 mins

Discovering Singapore's natural beauty

There's more to Singapore than its slick urban playground: here's how to seek out lush greenery and unique wildlife in the tropics

Singapore Botanic Gardens
Route: Start with Singapore’s most remarkable natural attractions before embarking on the Southern Ridges walk
Duration: 2-3 days

When Singapore turns its mind to a project, you can expect the results to be spectacular. Perhaps the finest example of all is the extraordinary Gardens by the Bay – a 1.01 sq km garden lined with vast solar-powered ‘supertrees’ and two Eden Project-like biodomes, one of which contains the world’s highest indoor waterfall. Since opening in 2012, the park has won numerous international awards for its innovative mix of gardens, conservatories, sculpture and sustainability.  

Singapore Gardens by the Bay
Singapore Gardens by the Bay

No less magnificent (and also fairly centrally located) are the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which, since mid-2015, have become the first and only tropical botanic gardens on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. They were founded more than 155 years ago and remain an oasis of orchids, lakes, bougainvillea and tree-lined pathways. The gardens also act as a research and learning centre – check online for details of the regular workshops that are available.

A couple of kilometres north of the Botanic Gardens you’ll find another natural heritage attraction, the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. The reservoir itself, Singapore’s oldest, has been here since the 1860s and provides an enjoyable setting for everything from canoeing to hiking.

MacRitchie Reservoir Park (Shutterstock)
MacRitchie Reservoir Park (Shutterstock)

For an even more memorable walk, however, head to the 10km stretch of connected green spaces along the south of the island. Known as the Southern Ridges, this frequently spectacular walkway links Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park, as well as Labrador Nature Reserve and the gardening-focused resource centre known as HortPark.

Singapore Henderson Waves
Henderson Waves

Some particular highlights from this beautiful, winding route include treetop walkways, birdwatching spots and, for fans of modern architecture, the chance to cross Henderson Waves, a strikingly designed footbridge sitting 36 metres above Henderson Road.

There’s a wild array of wildlife to be found in Singapore’s green spaces, with around 65 species of mammal – most commonly the long-tailed macaque – and 395 species of bird.

Main Image: The Singapore Botanic Gardens

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